Some customers are turning to seafood for a healthier alternative to red meat. Seafood provides protein, vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, and minerals, while remaining low in fat. Grocers capitalizing on this consumer trend should carefully consider safety, display cases and visual appeal to the customers as part of their overall seafood department strategy.
Above all other considerations, grocery managers need to prioritize food safety when choosing a seafood merchandiser. Delicate seafood spoils rapidly and creates a fishy smell that alienates customers. The best cases allow for easy temperature control. Staff should check the temperature hourly throughout the day. Some merchandisers offer special built-in cleaning systems that facilitate daily cleaning and sanitizing. Arrange displays so that cooked and uncooked items do not cross-contaminate.
Cases may be non-refrigerated, or refrigerated with an air overflow refrigeration system. They may have wings, which are sides that project back from the main body and give the case a U-shape. A case could have wheels or could be in a fixed location in the store. Full-service and self-service configurations are available depending on the staffing of the department. Adjustable tilt options make it easier to create the impression of an abundant display while using less product.
To keep items fresh, fill cases before the peak shopping times of the day. Alternate color hues in the display instead of grouping all white fish together and all pink fish together. Add fruits and vegetables for eye-catching color. Lemons, kale, and blood oranges create visual interest and may be used to separate product groupings. Maximize profits by placing related products near your seafood case such as seasonings, breading mixes, and marinades. Consider placing signage that explains the fish varieties and their origins; use these to promote the store’s sustainable sourcing policies and earn the trust of customers. Train store associates extensively on seafood cooking methods and recipes so they can answer customer questions with confidence.
Many of today’s sophisticated customers have transitioned from red meat to seafood. In order to attract them, design your displays with a carefully-chosen case that keeps food safe and artfully presents the product.